CinemAddicts Episode 103 Spotlights Anderson Cowan’s Feature Debut ‘Groupers’

Nicole Dambro in "Groupers."
On episode 103 of CinemAddicts, Anderson Cowan and I cover Running With the Devil, Monos, It: Chapter Two, Ad Astra, and Villains. Most importantly, Cowan’s feature directing debut Groupers is also discussed!

Maika Monroe and Bill Skarsgård in “Villains” (CR: Alter)

My big movie recommendation on this episode is Villains, a comedy/thriller about a pair of crooks (Maika Monroe, Bill Skarsgård) who stumble upon the wrong home. The owners are a married couple (Kyra Sedgwick, Jeffrey Donovan) with a girl chained up to their basement! Briskly paced feature, which contains solid work from all four actors, is playing in select theaters. Four stars for me.

Laurence Fishburne as The Man and Nicolas Cage as The Cook in the crime thriller RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL, a Quiver Distribution release. Photo courtesy of Quiver Distribution.

I also dug the drug thriller Running with the Devil, which has Nicolas Cage playing The Cook, an enforcer who is tasked by his boss (Barry Pepper) to follow a shipment from Colombia all the way to the Canadian border. Laurence Fishburne, Leslie Bibb, Adam Goldberg and Clifton Collins Jr. round out the ensemble. I gave it a 3.5 rating.

Cameron Duckett, Nicole Dambro, and Peter Mayer-Klepchick in “Groupers.”

Opening September 27th in Los Angeles is Groupers, the story of two high school jocks (Peter Mayer-Klepchick, Cameron Duckett) who are kidnapped at a bar by a woman named Meg (Nicole Dambro). Tied up together in an uncompromising position at the bottom of an emptied pool, the dudes come face to face with their homophobia.

I came across Groupers several years ago when Anderson Cowan asked me to read the script, and I complimented the script’s narrative structure. Like a Robert Altman film (Nashville, Cookie’s Fortune), Groupers has a healthy share of speaking parts, and on a cinematic level Cowan delivers an eye-catching tale thanks to the DP work of cinematographer Milan Janicin. Movies that leave a visual imprint on my feeble brain is a film I’ll always champion (Brian De Palma is my favorite filmmaker), and Groupers has its share of immersive sequences (I absolutely love the opening).

Edward Jackson, Terrance Wentz and Marqus Bobesich in “Groupers.”

CinemAddicts listeners will note how I also love when a movie “sticks the landing,” and for my money Groupers does that as well. Anderson also places his personal stamp on the movie, and his POV is certainly clear whether you love or hate Groupers. To that end, I see a lot of Samuel Fuller (Forty Guns, The Big Red One) in Anderson’s work (I’ve also read another one of his screenplays and it’s absolutely fantastic). Fuller was a director who simply loved telling what he described as “yarns,” and no matter what plot he was working with, he always managed to place his own spin on the matter. Knowing Anderson for years, I can honestly attest that he has never come across as a jaded, know it all movie lover, and his unadulterated love for movies is commendable (I’ve wavered too much in my life to attain that level!).


Obviously there is a bias since I am a close friend of Anderson, but I am excited to see where his work goes within the next 5 to 10 years.  I’d love to hear your honest thoughts on the movie as well (so comment below or just leave me a message!). For tickets to Groupers go to

If you want to listen to Episode 103, check out the Soundcloud bar below, and you can subscribe to us via Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Anderson Cowan’s filmmaking journey of making Groupers, along with his plans for his second movie, are chronicled in his weekly podcast “I’ve Got A Movie To Make,” which is part of the CinemAddicts feed.

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